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Organizational Change | Obesity Evaluation Measures

Organizational change measures for obesity prevention and control1-4

Physical activity and healthy eating, along with other health habits, require ongoing support from employers. New programs can be added over time and evaluated periodically for their effectiveness in establishing, maintaining, and increasing employee health behaviors. For best results, recognition of the benefits of healthy eating should become an inherent part of organizational change and corporate culture.

Measuring organization change is an assessment of company-initiated programs and policies that affect most employees regardless of their health status (e.g., changes of food options in the cafeteria, establishing walking trails on the company campus). These efforts need to be integrated for greatest effectiveness and will require time for full implementation. Regular measures of employee attitudes and program success are key in determining whether new programs are effective or require further adaptation to prevent continuing investment in ineffective efforts.


  • Determine barriers to good employee weight management at the workplace
  • Assess current workplace obesity prevention and control programs
    • List current obesity related program options for employees through worksite and identify number of employees (i.e., participation in classes) using each option. Examples:
      • Number of weight management classes and participation in these programs
      • Availability of educational materials on obesity prevention and control
      • Number of physical activity and nutrition related policies
      • Number of environmental strategies such as healthy foods in the vending machines, cafeterias, or garden markets for healthy eating or walking trails and exercise rooms for physical activity
      • Number of partnerships with community resources for weight management programs such as YMCAs, local hospital or health department
    • Determine costs of current worksite obesity programs such as:
      • Capital investment in building or facilities for physical activity or nutrition
      • Staffing, equipment, and space
      • Gym memberships
      • Cafeteria and vending machine contracts
      • Incentives tied to obesity programs
    • Conduct survey of employee satisfaction with current workplace supported obesity programs


  • Reassess barriers to good employee weight management at the workplace
  • Document steps taken and progress toward implementing each intervention selected
    • List numeric goals in each form of intervention within a designated time period (e.g., 12 months from startup):
      • Employee reach (e.g. number of educational pamphlets distributed)
      • Employee participation (e.g., number of desired participants in physical activity or weight management classes)
    • Describe timeline for implementation of each planned intervention (e.g., length of time and timing of tasks to develop, initiate, and conduct a mass campaign)
    • Create a baseline budget for new interventions including classes, instructors, classroom space, cafeteria and vending machine contracts, gym fees, printed and online educational material, etc.
    • Identify opportunities for new partnerships with community groups who provide weight management programs (e.g., YMCA, local health department, local hospital, etc.)
  • Reassess employee satisfaction regarding workplace supported obesity prevention and control programs


  • Measure reductions in the number and type of employee barriers to weight management in the workplace
  • Assess changes in workplace obesity prevention and control programs
    • Measure changes in the number of obesity related program options for employees through the worksite and changes in employee participation using each option before and after the obesity prevention and control program or campaign. Examples:
      • Number of new programs developed and offered to employees and participation in these programs
      • Number of new educational materials developed and made available to employees
      • Number of physical activity and nutrition related polices developed and implemented compared to baseline
      • Number and type of new environmental support changes made (e.g., healthy foods in vending machines, cafeterias, building of a walking trail etc.)
      • Number of new partnerships with community groups created to enhance access and opportunity for employees to manage weight  
    • Assess changes in program costs from baseline
      • New capital investments made (e.g., cafeteria)
      • Increases in staffing or materials needs due to new program offerings
      • New incentives or changes in existing incentives based on employee participation
      • Changes in costs for vending or cafeteria contracts
    • Assess changes in survey responses for employee satisfaction following implementation of a workplace supported obesity prevention and control program and compare with baseline

Depending on goal success, assess need to adjust workplace programs.


1.  Campbell KP, Lanza A, Dixon R, Chattopadhyay S, Molinari N, Finch RA, editors. A Purchaser’s Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Moving Science into Coverage. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health; 2006.

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.

3.  Matson Koffman DM, Lanza A, Campbell KP. A Purchaser’s Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: A tool to improve health care coverage for prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease, April 2008; 5(2).

4.  Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. Program evaluation. In: O’Donnell MP, editor. Health promotion in the workplace, 3rd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning; 2002. p 116-165.